“It’s an exciting day today!” declared County Administrator Stephen Larson. He announced the release of new funds by Governor Walz which target Clay County businesses negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic closure ruling.
Larson explained, “On December 16 of last year, Governor Walz signed into legislation a $216 million small business relief package that came in three categories.” He elaborated by describing the three categories established for business relief related to closures and restrictions stemming from Executive Order (EO) 20-99 which ended on January 10.
1. A direct payment from the Department of Revenue for businesses that saw a 30% drop in year-to-year taxable sales brought about by EO 20-99.
2. A payment to qualifying affected theaters and event centers.
3. Establish a funding package to be distributed to counties, based on their population, to address the needs of local businesses.
4. Larson noted that unlike the previous Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding program, this time cities and townships are not eligible to apply as separate entities. For this round, the state will direct dollars solely to the county to disburse to qualifying applicants. The Clay County Corona Virus Relief Committee which worked to disburse federal CARES Act relief funds, will be in charge of determining application eligibility for a share of Minnesota’s EO 20-99 relief dollars According to a January 12 Clay County press release
All applications are subject to meeting grant criteria. The program is not first-come, first-served and will not be distributed through a lottery system. Grant amounts will be based on a business’s ability to show need and the number of applications which meet the criteria.
Commission Chair and Clay County Corona Virus Relief Committee member Kevin Campbell expressed the hope that businesses that fell through the cracks in the previous CARES Act relief program will be able to apply and be found eligible for the new relief dollars.
The commissioners approved Clay County application forms and eligibility guideline requirements for EO 20-99 business relief. The commissioners directed Administrator Larson to activate forms and guidelines on the Clay County website at noon on January 12, 2021 and end them at 11:59 PM on January 24, 2021. (http://claycountymn.gov)
Administrator Larson added, “The goal of the committee is to provide feedback on how we can provide the best program possible and the most impactful.”